Friday, April 30, 2010

5 Years And Counting

It's been a long time.  5 years ago, a new online RPG game was released to the world.  And people got a taste of how the game Guild Wars worked.  Breaking away from typical and traditional MMOs, Guild Wars don't rely on using worlds where others can meet mid-way through.  Instead, parties are formed first and they enter in an instance of their own world, with no outsiders or anyone else to disturb them.  While at first the notion of such a thing is a welcome change due to the possibility of a rogue player wrecking havoc, it also introduces the element of not being able to meet a party that is already in a session.  Not being able to join mid-way through is part of the compromise of having an instanced world where all the loot and gold are shared amongst those in that party.  For the time being, this was a good thing.

As the game grew, so did too the number of players and the complications that come with people of different residence.  And soon the instanced world method became a major drawback rather than its advantage.  Well, this was fine anyway, considering that the system has been in place ever since its creation.

But one thing that was noted was the game's complications that grew over time.  With 3 campaigns, a single and only expansion (sadly), and more skills than anyone can possibly manage, the ever-evolving battle of balancing the skills, its strength and its weaknesses, became its very own game itself, the meta-game.  Each skill updates present a new challenge for players: to find the best and most efficient build and to exploit that build effectively for whatever purpose it can fulfill.  I'm not one to really divulge into skills, as I have slowed down drastically over time.  It was, to say the least, a great ride throughout.  And yet, having done all that I can ever do with what I can possibly do and in my own way, the motivation to do any of them all over again suddenly drops in a dramatic fashion.

I'm the kind who likes to play a particular game until I have reached a certain goal.  I have been doing that since Battlefield 2142.  Yet there is one little problem with that.  Sometimes friends and groups move on.  And sometimes I end up having to do the same.  But sometimes, certain games just don't sit well.  One has already gone through such criticism.  But as time goes by and games are released, the games I play changes.  And during those times when waiting on Battlefield: Bad Company 2, I was tinkering with Batman: Arkham Asylum.  Before that, it was Burnout Paradise.

And soon that fated day came -- March 2, 2010.  Anxious to give Bad Company 2 a quick run, I find myself hammered due to people who has already downloaded and unlocked the game the moment the clock hits 12.  It did not take long for some to start playing.  And it didn't take long for people, in a matter of 12 to 15 hours, to be at levels well above many of us.  And it did not take long for some people to reach the top.  Obviously people will question their methods of reaching the top.  Several has been busted for cheating and their profiles zeroed.  And others have been busted for obvious stat-padding, an action that balloons a person's profile through illegitimate means.

It doesn't take much to see that most of my attention has been on Bad Company 2.  Wanting to reach to the top or as high as I can, I play with my friends on a nightly basis.  And Guild Wars gets shoved aside and placed on the back burner.  That is until recently.

Splitting the time between the two isn't going to be easy.  However, I ended up making it work by any means possible.  Using the laptop, I fired up Guild Wars and let it chug away at one single thing: Nine Rings.  The one single title that has eluded me for so long happens to be the one title that I have had the most progress on.  It was also the most simplest to work on.  With little effort and requiring only one resource, gold, it was just a matter of time before I was able to reach the highest tier of this title achievement.

Maximizing time with Nine Rings has always been troublesome.  This is mostly due to special events being a limited time engagement.  With little time to spare, getting the most of Nine Rings means sitting on it the moment it opens up.  And the moment it opens up, the game client has to run non-stop until the mini-game is over.  Of course, during the course of letting the client run non-stop, you get connection issues.  For the most part, this isn't a problem.  But it can sure hinder progress to some degree.

And when it's all said and done, the decorations and the festivities are gone.  The players are automatically dumped back to a normal town and the Nine Rings game is closed.  With it, forward progress on the title has halted, at least for the moment.  With only a small amount of points to go until I can reach the highest tier, the only thing left is to push it up.  Slowly but surely, I will reach it.  And when I do, it will mark the highest point for my character.  I hope it won't be long.  But given that Bad Company 2 is taking up the majority of gaming time, it may take longer than anticipated.  Either way, the goal is within reach.

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